Three Pop-Up Bakeries to Try This Month
Proof positive that there can never be enough baked goods in this world: Several local businesses have new products on the menus this week, as Bagelsaurus, Bar Mezzana, and other bakeries support pop-ups by their employees. This isn’t new for the Boston bakery scene—the venerable Porter Square bagel shop itself began as a pop-up inside Cutty’s, while Bagelsaurus founder Mary Ting Hyatt launched her brand at the Brookline shop that employed her.
Now it’s Bagelsaurus’ time to pay it forward. Vinal Bakery, a passion project by Bagelsaurus employee Sarah Murphy, serves handmade English muffins there every Tuesday and Wednesday morning this fall. And Cutty’s isn’t slacking: The beloved sandwich shop has a hit with its employee Daisy Chow’s year-old pop-up, Breadboard Bakery. Chow’s Texas-style kolaches (Eastern European pastries) and more continue there every Friday and Saturday, while they will also pop up at Clear Flour Bread one day this week.
And just for fun, Bar Mezzana—the crudo-filled, South End debut from Barbara Lynch Gruppo alumni Colin and Heather Lynch—is showing off the handiwork of pastry chef Christina Larson with a new, monthly doughnut pop-up, called Basic Batch Donuts.
Murphy started baking professionally more than six years ago with Joanne Chang’s Flour empire, and left there as the company’s production manager. She now splits her time at Bagelsaurus and 3 Little Figs in Somerville, but she has aspirations to open her own, New England-focused bakeshop, which for now she’s calling Vinal Bakery.
“Hermits, variations on a brown bread, things like that,” Murphy says.
She plans to incorporate New England seasonality and quintessential flavors, like maple, molasses, and local fruit. English muffins aren’t traditionally regional, but they fit in with the concept because she wants to offer an exemplary breakfast sandwich at her future bakery, she says, and the muffins are complementary with what Bagelsaurus offers. As the pop-up continues, Murphy may introduce other in-the-works items to get customers’ feedback, she adds.
For now, she plans to offer a plain muffin every day of the Vinal pop-up, plus a rotating flavor. Currently, it’s the classic New England anadama with corn meal and molasses. It goes great with butter and honey or jam, Murphy says, as well as Bagelsaurus’ house-made almond butter.
Vinal first appeared at Bagelsaurus at the end of August, then took a week off, and plans to keep it consistent on Tuesdays and Wednesdays going forward. “We sold out the first three days. Someone brought them into work, and then people came in from that office the next day. It’s really fun testing things at home to finally see them enjoyed by other people,” Murphy says.
Chow agrees. She’s been baking at Brookline stalwart Clear Flour Bread for 13 years, but has simultaneously joined the pastry teams of Maison Robert, Locke-Ober, Formaggio Kitchen, Via Matta, and Ames Street Deli.
About a year ago, she was hired as a cook at Cutty’s “and eventually started doing fun things,” she says. The craquelin came about because Cutty’s owner Rachel Kelsey wanted to eat one, the kouign amann because Chow missed Ames Street’s, etc.
“[Owners Charles Kelsey], Rachel, and the whole Cutty’s staff loved them (they have great taste, btw), so I knew I could share them with the Cutty’s customers,” Chow says via email. She also wants to open her own place, and is actively keeping an eye on real estate listings.
In the meantime, Breadboard’s kolaches and wacky cake are available at Cutty’s every Friday and Saturday, and hand-made croissants and variations surface on Saturdays. This week only, on Thursday, Sept. 14, a few seasonal kolaches will be available at Clear Flour Bread after 11 a.m.
And finally, mark your calendars for the first official Basic Batch Donuts pop-up at Bar Mezzana this Saturday, Sept. 16. The restaurant will open especially to showcase this passion project by pastry chef Larson, formerly of Menton, during the day on the third Saturday of every month.
“Chef Tina’s passion for donuts made its way onto the Bar Mezzana dessert menu whenever she could sneak one on,” the team shares in a press release. “The donut popup will allow for her to dedicate more time and creativity to make her sweet dream become a regular reality.”
Doughnuts range from $3.50-$4, in fun flavors like Girl Scout Cookie, with salted caramel, chocolate, and coconut; Italiano, with espresso, mascarpone, chocolate, and rum caramel; and a gluten-free, glazed chocolate cake doughnut with shredded coconut, called Glutes with the Fur. Show up early: The first 20 people in line will get a Basic Batch doughnut hole while they wait.
For these up-and-coming pastry chefs, pop-ups at established employers allow for immediate customer feedback on their products, without the overhead investment of opening their own bakery. For Boston-area bon vivants, these pop-ups are a fantastic excuse to carbo-load this fall.
Vinal Bakery at Bagelsaurus, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 7 a.m. until sellout, 1796 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, (Bagelsaurus) 857-285-6103, Instagram.
Breadboard Bakery at Cutty’s, Fridays and Satursdays, 8 a.m. until sellout, 284 Washington St., Brookline, (Cutty’s) 617-505-1844, breadandstuff.com.
Basic Batch Donuts at Bar Mezzana, third Saturday of the month beginning Saturday, September 16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or until sellout, 360 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston, (Bar Mezzana) 617-530-1770, barmezzana.com, Facebook.